NFL punter (formerly of the Minnesota Vikings) and LGBT ally Chris Kluwe has written a detailed and compelling history of his commitment to LGBT equality AND how that intersected his football career leading to his ultimate release from the Vikings.
He begins like this:
Hello. My name is Chris Kluwe, and for eight years I was the punter for the Minnesota Vikings. In May 2013, the Vikings released me from the team. At the time, quite a few people asked me if I thought it was because of my recent activism for same-sex marriage rights, and I was very careful in how I answered the question. My answer, verbatim, was always, “I honestly don’t know, because I’m not in those meetings with the coaches and administrative people.”This is a true answer. I honestly don’t know if my activism was the reason I got fired.However, I’m pretty confident it was.
As he writes of the events that he says led to his firing, Kluwe describes an incident where he alleges special teams coach Mike Priefer used violent language in a team meeting:
“As [my teammates and I] sat down in our chairs, Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: ‘We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.’ The room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting.”
I highly recommend you read the entire essay as Kluwe courageously shares what he says was the unraveling of his last season with the Vikings. The title says it all.
Chris closes with this:
Never be afraid to do what’s right. If no one ever says anything, nothing ever changes. —Chris Kluwe, former NFL player
Read Chris Kluwe’s essay on Deadspin.